2020 has been a year of many changes, but even in "unprecedented times" there are some things we can count on – and consumers who flock out to shop for Thanksgiving Week are one of them.
According to Adobe Analytics data, Americans spent $ 5.1 billion online on Thanksgiving this year, breaking last year's record. That number represents a year-over-year increase of 21.5% over 2019, and is slightly below Adobe's projections, which were around $ 6 billion.
Although this year's numbers set a new record, so did last year: in 2019, according to Adobe Analytics, Americans spent $ 4.2 billion on Thanksgiving.
Numbers outside of sales also reached new milestones. Almost half (46.5%) of Thanksgiving purchases in 2020 were made on smartphones, another record. The roadside collection continued to be a draw for consumers. Retailers who offer this service saw a 31% higher conversion rate for traffic to their websites.
That growth came in a year when there were many reasons for consumers to shop online rather than in stores. Aside from the obvious explanation – the pandemic – many large retailers that keep their doors open to particularly eager Thanksgiving shoppers, such as Walmart and Target, stayed closed and pushed shoppers online.
It also seemed to play a role in having more restrictions due to the pandemic. Countries with more stringent regulations on family celebrations grew 3.4 times year over year than countries that did not.
The growth in the days leading up to the vacation was particularly impressive. According to Salesforce data, online sales in the US rose 72% on Tuesday this week, while sales rose 48% on Wednesday. Thanks to the year-over-year growth of 21.5%, it grew more slowly than at the beginning of the week.
This phenomenon may not come as a surprise given that retailers rolled out Cyber Week deals earlier than ever to distribute demand in a year when shipping and fulfillment concerns are peaking.
"There's a bit of indolence in the tradition of going around Thanksgiving and the day after and things like that," said Vivek Pandya, Adobe's senior digital insights manager. "This is something retailers will need to manage to get that demand spread out into the earlier part of the month, but still be able to do that for that sizeable step shift that will happen on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday , to be there."
According to Adobe Analytics, the biggest days are still ahead. The company predicts Black Friday sales between $ 8.9 billion and $ 10.6 billion. Additionally, a total of $ 189 billion will be spent this year's holiday season – a 33% increase over last year.